Many on SNAP get a twomonth delay in food benefits

first_imgDebra Robillard, a former broadcast journalist who worked in radio and television news for a decade, was homeless in Vancouver for about a year. She spent last winter sleeping on church floors thanks to the local Winter Hospitality Overflow shelter effort, and she’s just managed to rent her own apartment. Meanwhile, Robillard has been feeding herself thanks partially to a state food benefit for low-income people — a program called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, generally known as food stamps.But Robillard’s food benefit was slashed roughly in half for November and December. That’s because of a change in federal law, according to the state Department of Social and Health Services, and it is already affecting as many as 200,000 of the 600,000 SNAP recipients in Washington state. In Clark County, DSHS estimates, 12,700 households are affected.When Robillard went to the state DSHS office at Tower Mall in Vancouver the other day, she said, she learned that her monthly benefit for November and December will be $83. She said that her benefit used to be approximately $200 a month until federal budget cuts took hold a year ago, when they went down to $170. She was notified about this latest cut in a form letter in October, but missed just how deep it was going to be, she said.“I figured maybe $20 or $30. I’m almost used to that. But I ended up with about half of what I had before,” she said.Tied to utility assistanceAccording to a state information sheet, the cut is temporary and affects only those SNAP recipients who pay utilities as part of their rent or mortgage. “If you are paying for heating or cooling separately, your food assistance won’t be cut,” it says.last_img read more